Washington, D.C. — Barack Obama recently nominated what could be the nation’s first openly homosexual federal circuit judge to the bench.
Justice Department attorney Todd M. Hughes was announced as Obama’s pick on Thursday, along with Raymond T. Chen, a move that homosexual advocacy groups are applauding. The nomination marks the second of its kind, as Obama also chose homosexual judge Deward DuMont in 2010 to serve in the federal circuit, who withdrew his nomination after awaiting a hearing for over 18 months.
“Raymond T. Chen and Todd M. Hughes have displayed exceptional dedication to public service throughout their careers,” Obama said in a written statement. “I am honored to nominate them today to serve the American people on the United States Court of Appeals. I am confident that they will be judicious and esteemed additions to the Federal Circuit.”
Hughes, an avowed homosexual, is Deputy Director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice. He has served in the office since 2007, and also worked previously as an adjunct lecturer with the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and as an instructor for Duke University’s writing program.
“If confirmed, Todd Hughes would become the first openly gay federal appeals court judge in U.S. history,” said Chuck Wolf of The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. “His nomination is a testament to the expanding opportunities for openly LGBT Americans who want to serve their country, and to the president’s respect for the depth of talent and experience within the LGBT community. We look forward to his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.”
Wolf’s organization runs the Presidential Appointments Project, which is an effort to back homosexual candidates for nominated positions.
While Hughes would mark the first openly homosexual circuit judge, he is far from being Obama’s first homosexual nominee. Furthermore, Obama is not the first president to appoint homosexuals to his cabinet and other federal offices. According to reports, Bill Clinton appointed approximately 140 homosexuals to key positions over his two terms in office. In beginning his fourth year and second term, Obama has exceeded Clinton, with 150 nominees to date.
If confirmed, it is stated that Hughes will chiefly serve to determine patent and trademark cases, as well as lawsuits involving the federal government.
The United States Court of Appeals is one of the highest courts of law in the nation, with most cases ending at the appellate level. Only a small percentage of cases decided by the circuit courts that are appealed to the United States Supreme Court are accepted. The circuit courts, therefore, have much influence on case decisions across the nation as their rulings often become precedent and are used as references by attorneys and other judges in determining applicable case law in certain situations.
No known statements have been released from any legislators regarding whether they support or oppose Hughes’ nomination. It is stated that some Republicans opposed the nomination of Deward Dumont in 2010, which possibly led to his hearing never being scheduled and his subsequent withdrawal.